Vivian Balakrishnan, Workplace

Budget 2013: Five new hawker centres by 2016

Five new hawker centres will be completed by 2016, including one centre each at Yishun and Bukit Panjang, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament on Tuesday.

Dr Balakrishnan added in his update on Tuesday that planning works for all 10 centres, which the Government had previously pledged to build within the next five years, had begun.

He also gave some respite to Singapore's long-time, first-generation hawkers. Some of them had expressed concern that they would have to pay higher rents when their long-term, subsidised leases expire between 2014 and 2017. They will now be able to continue renting their stalls at the lower rates, said Dr Balakrishnan.

He also noted that removal of minimum rents for hawker stalls, which was introduced in April last year, has worked to reduce rents. "This has generally led to falling tender prices. 55 per cent of stalls awarded over the past year were below their previous reserve rents," he said.